NEWS FLASH: Word on the Street and More Great Book News!

The Mesdames have more happening to share this September.

BOOKS

Uncharted WqtersLet’s start with the good news that Rosemary McCracken’s latest book, Uncharted Waters, is now available in paperback as well in all ebook formats, including Kobo.

Rosemary McCracken

WORD ON THE STREET VIRTUAL MARKETPLACE

Death by Association

Madona Skaff

 

 

 

 

 

 

Come join Madona Skaff-Koren at the Crime Writers of Canada virtual table in Word on the Street’s 2020 Virtual Marketplace. Madona will be showcasing her latest book, Death by Association, as well as the first in the Naya series the page-turning Journey of a Thousand Steps. To access Madona’s booth at the WOTS 2020 Virtual Marketplace: https://bit.ly/2FN7168

Madona will be available throughout the day from September 21-30, 2020. All are welcome to browse. If you wish to purchase one or more books, however, you will need to register and log-in.

 

Skellngton Bony BlitheAnd now a word from Cheryl Freedman about submissions for the 2021 Bloody Words Light Mystery Award:

Our favourite skelington, Bony Blithe, is back and looking for entries to the 2021 Bloody Words Light Mystery Award (aka the Bony Blithe Award). The submission rules are now available at http://bonyblithe.com/submission-rules/. If you have any questions about the award, including whether your book is eligible, please write to us at bw-award@bloodywords.com.

The award includes a $1000 cash prize as well as a charming, light-hearted trophy.

We’re keeping our fingers crossed that the pandemic will abate so we can celebrate Bony Blithe’s 10th birthday <huzzah!> with our annual Bloody Words Mini-con and Award Gala on Friday, May 28, 2021, at the High Park Club in Toronto.

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Mesdames on the Move: September 2020

Books and Events, Dear Readers!

September Cat

We will soon be making an exciting announcement about our Mega Book Launch Month later this fall.

The Mesdames are going ZOOM with book launches this fall. We’ll post the dates as soon as they are determined. Best of all,  we are inviting readers across Canada to join in!

BOOKS AND SHORT FICTION

Coming Fall, 2020!

A Grave Diagnosis Cover

A stunning and talent-packed new Carrick Crime Anthology, A Grave Diagnosis! The anthology features 35 authors from across the crime and mystery spectrum, including  18 stories by Mesdames authors! There will be a ZOOM launch together with the Mega Book launch month, date TBD.

 

 

 

 

Uncharted WqtersRosemary McCracken’s new Pat Tierney mystery (the 4th), Uncharted Waters, Carrick Publishing, is now available on Amazon in paperback and all ebook formats, including Kobo.

Maureen Jennings, author of the Detective Murdoch mystery series, the DCI Tom Tyler series, and the Charlotte Frayne P.I. series: “Another delightful outing for Rosemary McCracken’s sleuth, Pat Tierney. Ever astute, Pat believably negotiates murder and mayhem that threatens to wreck her life. As well as a good story, Uncharted Waters has additional benefits such as the depiction of the inner world of financial investment. And a hilarious portrait of contemporary baby showers. More Pat Tierney, please!”

Rosemary McCracken

Gail Bowen, author of the Joanne Kilbourn Shreve mystery series: “As a single mother in her late 40s, Pat Tierney knows her decision to embark on uncharted waters by opening her own financial planning practice is a professional and personal risk. But when the uncharted waters prove to be a shark pool, bloody with betrayal and murder, Pat must fight not just for her livelihood but for her life. Uncharted Waters is McCracken’s best Pat Tierney mystery yet!”

 

The Rage RoomThe new novel by Lisa de Nikolitis, The Rage Room, will be published by Inanna. News of the Inanna book launch will be available later this fall TBD. With an endorsement by Terry Fallis, two-time winner of the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour “Wow, what a ride! Lisa de Nikolits has written a pulse-pounding thriller set in a troubled future that might just be ours. We see the seeds of The Rage Room in our own digital landscape. Mind-bending yet all too believable in the hands of a masterful storyteller.”

Lisa de Nikolits

 

Lisa de Nikolits was interviewed by the Authors Book Club where she talked about what inspired her story, “Love Thy Neighbour “in A Grave Diagnosis.

 

 

Dancing with Chairs in the Music House

 

Dancing with the Chairs in the Music House is the latest novel by Caro Soles. It is scheduled to be published on October 30,2020 by Inanna.

Precocious ten-year-old Vanessa Dudley-Morris knows lots of secrets. In 1949 when she and her family are forced to move into two rooms on the second floor of 519 Jarvis Street in Toronto, a genteel but somewhat rundown rooming house owned by a reclusive pianist, she learns a lot more.

Caro Soles

Despite the family’s drastically reduced circumstances, her parents struggle to keep up their old standards. Threatened by blindness due to an eye condition, Vanessa is kept at home, tutored by an erratic succession of eccentrics, some with questionable credentials. Consequently, she spends a lot of time alone, wandering the dim corridors of the old house, silently listening at doors and watching the odd characters who live there. She becomes fascinated by a mother and son who move into a room on the third floor. Eventually, she agrees to take secret notes from the son to his mysterious friend at her church, unwittingly unleashing a chain of events that leads to tragedy.

SSylvia Warshylvia Warsh’s story, “The Emerald Skull” which first appeared in the Mesdames’ anthology, Thirteen, is reprinted in The Black Cat Mystery newsletter.

 

 

 

Blair KeetchBlair Keetch‘s story “A Crunchy Kind of Death” was featured in the July issue of the Dark & Stormy Bookclub newsletter. His story “Sleep Perchance to Die” will be part of the fall anthology A Grave Diagnosis.Dark and Stormy Book Club

 

 

 

 

Kevin ThorntonKevin P Thornton’s article “Aging Heroes” is featured in Janet Rudoph’s Mystery Fanfare blog.

Mystery Fanfare Blog Post

EVENTS

Big ZOOM Conference success: Ten MoM (Jayne Barnard, Jane Burfield, M. H. Callway, Melodie Campbell, Donna Carrick, Lisa De Nikolits, Rosemary McCracken. Lynne Murphy, Madona Skaff and Caro Soles) were on panels for When Words Collide, the Calgary multi-genre conference that went virtual in August because of COVID. The recorded panels will soon be available on YouTube.

Bloody Words Light Mystery Award 2021

Skellington Bony Blithe

Our favourite skellington, Bony Blithe, is back and looking for submissions to the 2021 Bloody Words Light Mystery Award (aka the Bony Blithe Award). Watch for the 2021 submission rules coming soon to your email inbox or check our Facebook page (/bonyblithe) or Website (www.bonyblithe.com).

 

DEAD TO WRITES: STORY STOCKING READINGS

Dead to Writes, the Video PodcastDonna Carrick’s expansion of her Dead to Writes podcast, Story Stocking, continued through August with more stories from our latest anthology, In the Key of 13. Listen to these stories:

August 6  “The Beethoven Disaster”, Rosemary Aubert

August 13  “Her Perfume”, Marilyn Kay

August 19 “Bad Vibrations”, Rosalind Place

August 26 “Death of a Cheapskate”, Melodie Campbell

 

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NEWS FLASH! Cover Reveal for A Grave Diagnosis

Greetings Readers!

Carrick Publishing’s new crime fiction anthology, A Grave Diagnosis, is coming out this fall and includes stories by 18 Mesdames and Monsieurs of Mayhem!

The cover  by designer wizard, Sara Carrick, is eerie, compelling and thrilling. We couldn’t wait to show it to you so here it is!!

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NEWS FLASH! Meet the Mesdames at When Words Collide, Aug 13 to 16th!

Greetings Readers!

IT’S OFFICIAL!! TEN Mesdames will be presenting on several panels at the wonderful multi-genre festival, WHEN WORDS COLLIDE!  Now you can see and hear the Mmes in action – and to ask them questions at the end of the panels.

Normally WWC takes part in Calgary with 800+ attendees, but in 2020 or Anno Horribilis,  WWC is going on Zoom.  You can attend the conference  with no travel costs from home!

Best of all registration is FREE!! Register here.  The PDF of the program will  be released with links to all panels in a few days.

The Mesdames have their very own panel, Meet the Mesdames of Mayhem, Saturday, August 15th, 4pm (Toronto time), 2 pm (Mountain time). (Donna Carrick, Rosemary McCracken, Madona Skaff, M. H. Callway moderating.)

We’re also out in force for The Long and Short of Crime, Saturday August 15th, 2 pm (TT), 12 noon (MT). (Jane Burfield, Rosemary McCracken, Lynne Murphy, Caro Soles, M. H. Callway moderating.)

Here’s the line-up of even more panels:

Jayne Bernard, Melodie Campbell   Plot vs Character, Crime Fiction’s Eternal Grudge Match, Friday, August 11th 3pm (TT), 1pm(MT) 

Lisa De Nikolits, Caro Soles,  Can the Crossover Fit the Crime? Saturday, August 15th, 12 noon (TT), 10 am (MT)

Jayne Bernard, The Heroine’s Journey, Sunday, August 16th, 1 pm (TT), 11am(MT) 

Jayne Bernard, From the Mean Streets to the Deadly Wilderness, Sunday, August 16th, 3pm (TT), 1pm (MT)

Jayne Bernard, Diversity in Speculative Fiction, Sunday, August 16th, 5pm (TT), 3pm (MT)

 

Jayne Barnard

Jayne Bernard

Madeleine Harris Callway

M. H. Callway

Melodie Campbell

Melodie Campbell

Dead to Writes, the Video Podcast

Donna Carrick

Lisa de Nikolits

Lisa De Nikolits

Rosemary McCracken

Rosemary McCracken

Lynne Murphy

Lynne Murphy

Jane Petersen Burfield

Jane Petersen Burfield

Madona Skaff

Madona Skaff

 

 

 

 

Caro Soles

Caro Soles

 

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Spotlight on Lisa de Nikolits and her Goodreads Blog

Spotlight on Bad Girl Blog

 

Interview with an Author2

 

History of Interview with an Author

Lisa de NikolitsThe Mesdames of Mayhem: When did Interview with an Author (IAA) begin? 

Lisa: I’ve been blogging on Goodreads since May 15, 2014. I started with The Witchdoctor’s Bones and “Why Write About Africa?”

But I’ve only been doing IWAA since January of this year.

The Mesdames: What led you to publish through Goodreads?

Lisa: Honestly, it was the easiest route to go! I tried WordPress and got so muddled up! I’ve tried WordPress a number of times and I just can’t get the hang of it, so kudos to those who do!

I’ve been a Goodreads author for over ten years now and have explored most of what they have to offer. One day I was playing around with the Author Dashboard and I found the blog button and just took it from there. I figured that posting blogs to Goodreads would be handy for people because it would be easy for them to go to the book I was talking about and find out more about the author’s books, follow them and perhaps even encourage a happy reader to write a review or give the book a rating.

The Mesdames: What are the advantages?

Lisa: It’s really easy to use and I figured it was a good environment for a blog – it’s full of book lovers so I assumed they’d be interested in hearing about an author they were familiar with or learning about a new author.

The Mesdames: What are the disadvantages if any?

Lisa: There’s some formatting involved with regards to bold and italics. I find that a bit fiddly – for example, you have to put <i> before a word you want in italics and then </i> when you are done.

This seems like a small thing but it can take some time if the post has a lot of book titles.

The Mesdames: What authors / books / genres do you especially love to blog about? 

Lisa: I enjoy chatting with a very broad spectrum of authors. I interview poets, genre and literary writers. I generally pick an author because I’ve read their book and have questions of my own that I’d like to ask them or I interview a writer whose book I’m keen to read.

The Mesdames: Tell us about some of your favorite interviews. 

Lisa: Oh gosh, that’s kind of like asking which child is my favorite! They are all my favorites! And all the authors submit wonderful interviews, one can tell that a lot of work went into their answers. To me, the most wonderful thing about book life is the camaraderie and I love chatting with authors about their work and getting to know more about them. Real friendships develop which is lovely.

The Mesdames: You are currently on hiatus, but once IAA starts up again, how should an author apply if they wish to be interviewed on your blog?

Lisa: Just email me! I am very proactive about reaching out to people too and I am very open about the interview content. I supply a lot of questions and ask people to pick any six they’d like. Readers have extremely short attention spans so the more succinct, the better! And yes, I am on hiatus and I’m not entirely sure when I will return. I am gearing up for a fall release of my dystopian novel, The Rage Room and there’s a huge amount of work involved in that.

I actually have two blogs, one is Interview with An Author and the other is The Minerva Reader which is a review site. (BTW I welcome guest reviewers with open arms, so if you’ve read a book you love, just send me a review and I’ll post it.) The Minerva Reader is also on hiatus because of The Rage Room but I really look forward to returning to it. I often read a book, review it on The Minerva Reader and that leads me to ask the author if they’d liked to do an interview on IAA. So there’s a nice synergy between the two initiatives.

The Rage RoomYour Blog Readership

The Mesdames: Does Goodreads provide you with stats and/or demographics of your blog followers? 

Lisa: They used to and it was hugely handy but then they stopped. I asked them why and they didn’t give me a reason except to agree that they stopped! So I really don’t have any idea about the stats. When they were posting the stats, I’d have about 200-400 readers per blog but now I’ve got no idea.

I use Bitly to create blog links (which I rather like as you can customize the name, e.g. InterviewWithMHCallway).  I get stats from Bitly but they don’t reflect the actual Goodreads clicks. I try not to focus on the numbers but on the message. I do feel a certain responsibility to the authors though and I feel just awful if a post they’ve worked hard on, doesn’t seem to generate a reaction. But at least I am helping get the word out and that’s very important to me.

The Mesdames: What feedback have you had from your blog readers?

Sadly not as much as I had hoped, but this has not deterred me. I find that one can’t participate in social media if one has any expectations about interaction. People are so ridiculously busy that they may not respond at that time. But even if you plant a seed in their minds, that is all good.

The Mesdames: What advice would you give authors starting a blog for the first time?

Lisa: Don’t expect a linear result as in “this blog post will result in x amount of sales”. In fact, my advice would be to have no expectations at all. Blogging is just one thing to do of many, so don’t think about it, just do it! That’s how I approach social media – I don’t analyze it, I just do it! As mentioned, I try to ignore the numbers when it comes to all things books, because it’s such a fiercely competitive world that if you focus on the numbers, you’ll just get down in the dumps no matter how well your own book is doing. Someone out there is always doing better than you! Part of being an author is developing a tough shell because it’s not easy – you’re putting out your most precious work and the world can be cruel!

The Mesdames: How long does it take you on average to prepare a blog posting?

Lisa: About three hours. The Minerva Reader takes a lot longer because I read the book, write the review and then post it. I do that on a website via a host called Homestead.com. It’s a lot more complicated than Goodreads so it takes me at least half a day to do a post (after reading and writing the review).

The Mesdames: How often do you post and what motivates you to post regularly?

Lisa: I don’t have a set schedule, I just try to do it as often as I can. The plan was to post The Minerva Reader monthly and the same for Interview With An Author but then COVID-19 happened. I decided to step up the interviews and do as many as two a week. A lot of my friends were publishing books and the world had just fallen apart, so I wanted to do as much as I could to help generate publicity in place of the usual real-life readings and events.

Bottom Line

The Mesdames: Do blogs help an author promote their books?

Lisa: If the question is whether blogs are more effective than other social media tools, I’d say the jury’s out on that. I’d say that blogs are just one link in a very long chain. Social media is like a juggling act – I think one should keep as many balls in the air as possible and if you drop them, just pick them up when you’re ready and start again and never judge yourself for what you might have left undone. The thing is, there are infinite avenues to explore on social media and if you were to attempt all of them, you’d die trying (and you’d never write again because all your time would be spent online!)

The Mesdames: Is running a blog worth an author’s time and effort? 

Lisa: If you get a personal joy from doing them then definitely yes. I don’t agree with Marie Kondo about most things, but I do apply her strategy to social media. If it doesn’t bring you joy then don’t do it! Sometimes for me, blogging is a way to share a personal reaction to a book, or something I have seen. It’s cathartic and I simply have to get it out into the world. For example, I recently read Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood and I loved it so much and was so deeply affected by it that I had to write a blog post about it. My motives were very writerly in that I had something I wanted to share with the world and the blog was the best way to do it!

I hope this blog post will be helpful and thank you for having me as a guest today! Being a Madame of Mayhem is something I truly cherish!

 

 

 

 

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Mesdames on the Move: July/August 2020

GREETINGS READERS!

July-August Kittens with computer and books

Summer is here and it’s a scorcher. All the more reason to curl up with a great book, a cool drink and take it easy in the shade. And that’s exactly what the Mesdames will be doing for July and August!

Lots of hot news to go with our hot weather but our hottest item is the new anthology, A Grave Diagnosis, to be released this fall by Carrick Publishing. Many of us have stories in this collection where dastardly disease mingles with crime. Stand by for the cover reveal and launch details via news flash.

Never mind that author conferences, book launches and readings can’t happen in the physical world for now. We authors are an innovative and irrepressible bunch so we’ve literally zoomed into cyberspace. We look forward to sharing our virtual experiences with you – and inviting you to them – over the next few weeks.

Stay safe and keep reading!

The Mesdames and Monsieurs of Mayhem

OUR BIG NEWS

Carrick Publishing Seeks Story SubmissionsThe author line-up for Carrick Publishing’s new crime fiction anthology, A Grave Diagnosis, was announced and 18 stories by our Mesdames and Monsieurs made the cut. Illness and/or a medical condition are the pivotal element of the 35 tales in the collection. Publisher Donna Carrick says that the stories, penned by both established and new authors, are the best she’s seen in recent times – and she’s not easily impressed!

Stay tuned for the cover reveal later this summer or early fall. Publication is planned for October 2020.

Congratulations to:

Catherine Astolfo: “The Backpack”
Rosemary Aubert: “Mercy”
Jayne Barnard: “Christmas Rose”
Jane Petersen Burfield: “Unmasked”
M.H. (Madeleine) Callway: “The Eternal Bakery of the Fractal Mind”
Melodie Campbell: “Two Crooks Walk into a Store”
Donna Carrick: “A Grave Diagnosis”
Lisa de Nikolits: “Love Thy Neighbour”
Therese Greenwood: “Boom Town Shakedown”
Blair Keetch: “Sleep, Perchance to Die”
Sylvia Maultash Warsh: “Days Without Name”
Rosemary McCracken: “Hooked”
Lynne Murphy: “Woman Aglow”
Ed Piwowarczyk: “Danny and Me”
Rosalind Place: “Criminals Like Us”
Madona Skaff: “Cross Match”
Caro Soles: “Waiting in the Wings”
Kevin Thornton “Hypochondriacs Never Get This”

CONGRATULATIONS!

Therese Greenwood

What You Take With You

Therese Greenwood’s memoir, What You Take With You: Wildfire, Family and the Road Home, about her personal experiences during the devastating wildfire in Fort McMurray, is a finalist for the Book Publishers Association of Alberta Award: Non-fiction Biography and Memoir.

Jayne BarnardJayne Barnard’s story, “A Midsummer Night’s Scream” will be in Crime Wave, the new Sisters in Crime Canada West anthology to be released in Fall, 2020

 

 

 

 

 

Lisa de Nikolits

The Occult Persuasion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lisa De Nikolits’ latest novel, The Occult Persuasion and the Anarchist’s Solution, is long-listed for the 2020 Sunburst Award, which recognizes excellence in Canadian fantasy and speculative fiction writing. The Short List will be announced later this month. Fingers crossed!

Cat Mills

Mesdames of Mayhem CBC-Gem

 

Cat Mills had two documentaries short-listed in the Yorkton Film Festival. Established in 1947, it is North American’s longest running film festival. The festival is held annually in Yorkton, Saskatchewan. Cat’s films were Biker Bob’s Posthumous Adventure and of course, our very own wonderful documentary, The Mesdames of Mayhem.

Learn more about Yorkton festival’s history.

Madona Skaff

Death by Association

 

 

 

 

 

 

Madona Skaff was our leader in doing virtual conferences. Her publisher, Renaissance Press, organized a virtual conference with their authors. Madona took part in several panel discussions and sold her new novel, Death by Association, in the virtual bookstore.

Rosemary AubertThe Light in Trieste

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rosemary Aubert has received positive reviews for her new novel, A Light in Trieste. Now available on Amazon.

Kevin ThorntonKevin Thornton‘s first YA short story has been accepted for a collection Belanger Books is bringing out later this year. He’s quite chuffed with being able to expand his horizons and write for a different audience. All the Mesdames and Monsieurs are quite chuffed to see Kevin breaking into a new market too.

Melodie CampbellPrepare for a session of uninterrupted reading. Melodie Campbell’s Goddaughter series will soon be released as a collection. We’ll announce the details as soon as the publisher makes them available.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Dead to Writes, the Video PodcastSeason 4 of Dead to Writes, Donna Carrick’s Zoom interviews with crime fiction authors, has just started. Be sure to listen and catch best-selling thriller writers such as Rick Mofina and Maureen Jennings and, of course, The Mesdames and Monsieurs of Mayhem.

Season 4

Dead to Writes episodes coming up:

June 28   Rick Mofina interview

July 5      Maureen Jennings interview

July 12    Barbara Fradkin

July 19    Catherine Astolfo

July 26    Nate Hendley

Aug. 2    Cathy Ace

Aug. 9    Jane Petersen Burfield

Donna Carrick has expanded her podcast with Story Stocking, where she reads an excerpt from favorite short stories. This is a fabulous opportunity for readers to listen to stories from our latest anthology, In the Key of 13, in audiobook. https://deadtowrites.ca/story-stocking/

Story Stocking readings:

July 1    “Under the Lamplight”, Kevin P. Thornton

July 8    “Soul Behind the Face”, Madona Skaff

July 15  “Winona and the CHUM Chart”, Catherine Dunphy

July 22  “Brainworm”, Part I, M.H. Callway

July 29. “Brainworm”, Part II, M.H. Callway

The Ride to Conquer Cancer

Madeleine Harris-CallwayFor the first time, since it began in 2008, The Ride to Conquer Cancer is going virtual. M. H. Callway will be doing the Virtual Ride on August 29th to support cancer research at Princess Margaret Hospital.

Posted in Anthologies, Awards/Achievements, books, Dead to Writes | Leave a comment

NEWS FLASH! Big Congrats and Terrific Books!

Greetings Readers!

June is turning out to be a terrific month of recognition for the Mesdames. Here’s the great news since our June newsletter.

Lisa de Nikolits

Lisa De Nikolits

The Occult PersuasionLisa De Nikolits‘ latest novel, The Occult Persuasion and the Anarchist’s Solution, has been long-listed for the Sunburst Award, which celebrates exceptional writing in Canadian speculative fiction.

The Sunburst shortlist will be announced in July and the winners in September. The prize for Best Novel includes a $1,000 award.

 

Madona Skaff

Madona Skaff

Madona Skaff launched her new book, Death by Association and was our pioneer for virtual launches and conferences!

Her publisher, Renaissance Press, held the conference June 5 to 7th, which features panel discussions and author readings. Madona’s panels included Authors in Quarantine, Building a Mystery and The Apocalypse Wasn’t What We Expected!

Death by Association is now available on Amazon.ca.

 

Rosemary McCracken

Rosemary McCracken

Mystery Most Edible AnthologyRosemary McCracken‘s story, “Dining Out”, is one of 36 murderous tales with a culinary bent in the Malice Domestic anthology, Mystery Most Edible.

Great news in that the Anthony Awards now include  a new category for Best Anthology and Mystery Most Edible is short-listed.

Check out the full details on Rosemary’s blog, Moving Target.

Caro Soles

Caro Soles

Marlo's DanceCaro Soles‘ new book, Marlo’s Dance, is getting terrific reviews.

For the video and the scoop, check out Caro’s blogpost about Marlo’s Dance.

Now available on Amazon.ca.

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Spotlight on Bad Girl Blog

Spotlight on Bad Girl Blog

Bad Girl Blog

Melodie CampbellThe Mesdames of Mayhem: How long has your blog been running?

Melodie: Ten years this month! Wow.

The Mesdames: Why did you start blogging?

Melodie: My first novel publisher was a big fan of social media, and put me on the right track. “Get out there,” she said. But it goes back farther than that.

I had a humour column in a newspaper and trade mag in the ’90s, and came out of it with at least 200 comedy publications. Starting a blog was a perfect place to republish those columns, and I did so for many years. Some of my following from the old comedy days (I wrote standup and did some performing) found me on Blogspot and passed the word around.

The Mesdames: What are the subjects you love to blog about?

Melodie: My books are comedies, so it makes sense that my blog would be humorous posts. My old newspaper columns were mainly general comedy, very much like Erma Bombeck and Dave Barry. These days, I write a lot of funny pieces on the writing life.

The Mesdames: How often do you post and why?

Melodie: Until last year, I posted once a week. Yes, once a week for 9 years! That’s a lot of posts. In late 2018, my husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and I had to step back my weekly posting to monthly. It was a tough year after his death; I cannot tell you how long it took for me to find my voice again. But Bad Girl is back to writing comedy, and I will be posting some of my old stuff on there starting this month.

The Mesdames: What were your most satisfying posts?

Melodie: No question, my zanier posts get the biggest response. I love when readers appreciate my somewhat loopy sense of humour.

The Mesdames: Please share some stats with us. 

I’m nearing 200,000 hits. These days, I get about 1,000 per post. Readers are from all over the world: North America, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, France, Estonia, Russia, The Emirates, China, India… I have an international following because I started the Bad Girl blog when my first book, Rowena Through the Wall came out. That fantasy series did very well in Germany, and I picked up followers there.

The Mesdames: What feedback have you had from your blog readership?

Mainly, keep the comedy coming! But one thing I’d like to mention: I’m among the number of early bloggers who are unclear as to exactly how important our blogs are for our book sales. The theory is that people who read our blogs also buy our books. Or…people find their way to our books through the blog. Indeed, I know a lot of Bad Girl Blog readers also enjoy my Goddaughter comedy capers.

What we DON’T know is how sensitive blogging is to sales. For instance, blogging is a lot of work, we all admit. If I were to stop, would my book sales go down? I have no idea, and neither do my other early blogger friends, like Anne R. Allen. So, we’re kind of afraid to stop.

The Mesdames: What blog post over the years has had the most reads?

Melodie: Probably: I AM NOT A SEXY PORN GIRL (and other Twitter Mishaps)

Plus: NEVER MARRY A CRIME WRITER

Also can’t forget: Books I will Never Write: DINO PORN

Loopy, as I mentioned. I’ll be repeating those ones on the blog in June.

The Mesdames: What advice would you give authors starting a blog for the first time?

Melodie: I think you have to have an angle. You have to offer something that isn’t currently out there. My angle was comedy, and that fit with my books just fine. So the people who came to my blog were the sort who would appreciate the wacky humour in my Rowena and Goddaughter books.

The Mesdames: How long does it take you on average to craft a blog posting?

For me, I’m writing a column, just like I would for a newspaper. I’m a trained columnist. Opening, three subject points, twist ending, usually. In about 500-700 words. Comedy takes time. What reads easy doesn’t write easy. I go over and over it, playing with words, honing it to the sharpest. If I had to guess, I would say 8 hours in total per column.

The Mesdames: Do you believe that running a blog is time well spent?

For me, it has been. I am not so sure you can get this sort of following if you start now, however. Cyberspace is much more crowded now than it was ten years ago. It’s noisy out there!

Catch the Bad Girl Blog on http://www.melodiecampbell.com

Posted in News, Writing | 5 Comments

Mesdames on the Move: June 2020

WE’RE REACHING OUT TO CONNECT WITH YOU!

June kittenThis June, the Mesdames continue to connect with you online and in print despite the challenges of social distancing. With the sun shining, we hope to add a bit more light and magic to your day.

 

 

BONY BLITHE LIGHT MYSTERY AWARD 2020 ANNOUNCED

Bloody Words Mini-Con and Bony Blithe Award

 

First, a few words from Mme Cheryl Freedman, organizer extraordinaire of the Bloody Words Mini-Con and Bony Blithe Light Mystery Award.

Cheryl Freedman

Congratulations to the winner of the 2020 Bony Blithe Light Mystery Award, Liz Freeland, for Murder in Midtown, published by Kensington Books.

The Bony Blithe is an annual Canadian award that celebrates traditional, feel-good mysteries. Now in its sixth year, the award is for a “mystery book that makes us smile” and includes everything from laugh-out-loud to gentle humour to good old-fashioned stories with little violence or gore – in short, books that are fun to read.

Murder in Midtown, the second book in Liz’s Louise Faulk historical mystery series, is set in 1913 New York City. The story brings together the highest and lowest of NYC’s denizens as Louise works to solve a particularly nasty murder, all the while risking her newly acquired position as a novice NYC policewoman.

Want to get a feel for Liz’s book? Visit the Bony Blithe Website to see the jolly winning-book video produced by Mme Caro Soles.

BOOKS

Blair Keetch’s short story ‘Deadly Cargo’ is part of the mystery short story anthology Heartbreaks and Half-Truths – edited by Judy Penz Sheluk of Superior Shores Press, with a release date of June 18. Check out the Publication countdown clock on Judy’s site.

Blair Keetch

BOOK READINGS and STORYTELLING

Have some fun with Marlo the Merculian discovering the joys of coffee and whipped cream. Mme Caro Soles reads from her latest book in her Merculian series, Marlo’s Dance.

Melodie CampbellMme Melodie Campbell is one of the featured authors at the TELLING TALES FESTIVAL (for children’s books) this year. Crime Club is the book being featured in September of 2020 and she will be talking about mystery and suspense writing.

 

 

Submissions Closed for A Grave Diagnosis

Carrick Publishing Seeks Story SubmissionsSubmissions to Carrick Publishing’s newest anthology, A Grave Diagnosis, are now closed as of June 1, 2020.

 

 

 

SOCIAL MEDIA

Spotlight on Bad Girl Blog

Our June spotlight is on Mme Melodie Campbell’s Bad Girl Blog. See it on June 2, 2020.

LISA DE NIKOLITS – INTERVIEW WITH AN AUTHOR

Lisa de Nikolits

Lisa De Nikolits

In case you missed it, Mme Lisa De Nikolits interviewed two of our members on her Goodreads blog, Interview with an Author.

On May 2nd, Lisa chatted with M. H. Callway and on May 17th with Kevin Thornton.

Be sure also to check the archives in The Minerva Reader for  Lisa’s reviews of books by the Mesdames.

Madeleine Harris Callway

M.H. Callway

Kevin Thornton

Kevin Thornton

 

 

 

STORY STOCKING

Donna Carrick announces a new podcast, Story Stocking, where she reads a short story reading from a favourite author.

This month, Donna reads from Caro Soles’ story, “A Moonlight Sonata”, the first story in the Mesdames’ new anthology,  In the Key of 13.

All music featured on Story Stocking, a production of Dead to Writes, is brought to you courtesy of songwriter, composer and performer Ted Carrick. Keep up with all of his new music at his YouTube Channel.

DEAD TO WRITES

Dead to Writes, the Video Podcast

 

Check out Mme Donna Carrick’s Dead to Writes Podcasts and Videocasts! There are over 70 unique interviews posted, including several with the Mesdames of Mayhem!

Be sure to check out Donna’s interviews with M. H. Callway, Lisa De Nikolits, Marilyn Kay, Blair Keetch and Rosemary McCracken.

 

On Sunday, May 31st, it’s Mme Lynne Murphy with tips on succinct prose writing

On June 14th, Donna interviews  Mme Madona Skaff. Other amazing Canadian authors, like best-selling thriller writer Rick Mofina,  are also in this month’s line-up.

Madona Skaff

Madona Skaff

For a complete listing of these wonderful weekly video/podcasts, available on YouTube as well as wherever you get your Podcasts. Please be sure to hit Like and Subscribe!

 

 

 

 

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SPOTLIGHT ON MOVING TARGET

ROSEMARY MCCRACKEN: MOVING TARGET

Author Rosemary McCracken's Moving Target Blog

The Mesdames of Mayhem: How long has your blog been running, and why did you start it?

Rosemary: I started Moving Target in 2011, after I signed my first publishing contract with Imajin Books for Safe Harbor. Imajin wanted its authors to have websites and blogs. So I proceeded to create a website and start a blog, knowing full well that both were essential tools for writers. A blog, especially, can help writers connect with readers and with other writers, and expand their target audiences. It can also help writers build authority on their specialties; for example, a writer of cozies set around a restaurant or a bakery might want to blog about food topics and recipes.

The Mesdames: What is the aim of your blog?

Rosemary: Its title, Moving Target, says it in a nutshell. A writer’s target is constantly changing. The first target is probably completing a novel or a short story; then the target moves to finding a publisher. And when it comes to marketing the work, the target really keeps moving. My blog shows the different stages I’ve gone through in my journey as a writer—my little triumphs and progressions—which can serve as signposts for what lies ahead for beginning writers.

Today, nine years after signing my first novel contract, my target is still moving. And I expect that it always will be.

The Mesdames: What topics do you blog about?

Rosemary: The tagline of my blog, on the top right-hand side of its home page, is Rosemary McCracken’s Book Adventure. This sums up the main content of my blog: my exciting (to me) adventures of writing, placing and promoting my fiction, as well as announcing important events that impact my writing and my writing community.

I also post interviews with authors I’ve met in person and online, usually when they’ve had a new book released, to help with their promotion. And I include photos from trips I take because I enjoy travelling, and some of my short stories are set in countries I’ve visited.

And, from time to time, I’ll blog about movies, generally older ones. Film structure is very similar to novel structure, and it’s a structure most of us intuitively know from our years of watching movies. I spend a lot of my leisure time watching movies and analysing their structure.

I rarely post “personal” blogs. I give followers glimpses of my life with my travel photos, maybe a short blog on St. Patrick’s Day because I have an Irish background. That sort of thing. But my day-to-day life isn’t terribly interesting, and I don’t want to bore blog followers with details about it.

The Mesdames: How often do you post?

Rosemary: Not as often as I should. The experts say you should blog at least once a week, preferably on the same day of the week. But I feel it’s more important to blog about events in my writing journey that resonate with me. And these don’t necessarily happen every week.

The Mesdames: What blog post over the nine years has had the most reads?

Rosemary: According to my WordPress stats, my most popular post was an obituary I wrote on Feb. 12, 2015, about the late Canadian crime fiction author Alison Gordon.

The Mesdames: What posts were the most satisfying to write?

Rosemary: In November 2011, four months before the release of Safe Harbor, I announced a contest on my blog for readers to vote on one of the two covers Imajin Books had come up with for the mystery novel. Have a look at the two covers and tell me which one you prefer. I used PollDaddy to keep track of the votes. Readers preferred Cover A (69.29% of the votes) over Cover B (30.71%), and that was the cover we went with. I announced the winning cover in a February 2012 blog.

A contest/poll such as this ramps up the excitement for an upcoming release. It also allows you to interact with readers, and helps them bond with your book. It’s also a fair amount of work.

The Mesdames: Who reads your blog?

Rosemary: According to my WordPress stats, the majority of my readers are in Canada, the United States and Britain, all countries where my novels have sold well on Amazon. But I’ve had readers from all around the world, notably in Ireland, India, Australia, South Africa, Hong Kong, Germany, the Philippines, Brazil and Russia. It’s thrilling to know that I’m connecting with people so far away!

The Mesdames: Since Google prefers posts of at least 500 words or longer do you deliberately create lengthier posts or let the idea determine the length?

Rosemary: I let the content of a post determine its length. Some posts should be short, so I keep them short.

The Mesdames: Do you use keywords and other SEO techniques to attract readers?

Rosemary: I always add a few keywords to the box WordPress provides, even if they are generic terms such as “mystery novels.” I’d be foolish not to take advantage of everything available to promote my blogs. And I use images in the posts. As a former newspaper journalist, I well know how important photos are in attracting readers to a page. A picture tells 1,000 words!

The Mesdames: How long does it take to craft a blog post?

Rosemary: I can write a post fairly quickly because many of my posts are similar to news articles I wrote as a journalist—and these needed to be written pronto, before the news grew old. I find pounding them out quickly—depending on content, probably in about 20 minutes—gives energy to the writing.

The Mesdames: Is running a blog time well spent?

Rosemary: For the reasons I’ve mentioned above, a blog is an important tool for connecting with existing readers and building a wider readership. And writing a blog can also be cathartic. From time to time, bloggers can use a post to rant about a topic dear to their hearts—not too often, of course. That’s what I did on May 23, 2015 in “Etiquette on the book front.” https://rosemarymccracken.wordpress.com/2015/05/23/etiquette-on-the-book-front/

But be careful what you rant about. Something you write in the heat of the moment may come back to bite you. Remember that readers are entitled to spend their money in any way they choose. If they choose not to buy your books at a signing event or elsewhere, that is their prerogative. Move on. Write some more books.

The Mesdames: How do you promote your blog?

Rosemary: Including keywords about each blog, as I mentioned above. I also create a tweet for every blog I post, I link to LinkedIn, and I post about it on Facebook. And I encourage my Facebook friends to share my posts by sharing those that they post. When I interview an author, I remind that person to promote the interview through his/her social media contacts.

The Mesdames: Is writing a blog for everyone?

Rosemary: Blogging makes sense for me, but it may not for other authors. If it’s a real chore, and you’re only doing it because “everyone else is,” you might be better off channelling your energy into other activities.

The Mesdames: What advice would you give authors starting a blog for the first time?

Rosemary: Here are some tips that may help:

  • Re-evalulate your blog topics every year.
  • Build authority for your “specialty” in your blog by discussing some of the research you do for your novels.
  • Draw up a calendar for your blog. And plan out as many of your posts in advance as you can.
  • Put your blog readers first. Write posts that will be meaningful to them, not posts intended only to promote your books.
  • Design readable posts. Use bullets for lists in order to break up text. Include at least one relevant image for each post.
  • Develop a blog promotion plan.
  • Invite other writers to contribute guest posts or interview them in Q&A format.
  • Refer back to older posts when relevant, including links to these posts in your text.
  • Encourage readers to comment by asking them to comment in your posts. By commenting, readers will develop stronger ties with you and your books. And reply to their comments, or thank them for commenting.

 

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